QMUL has retained its HR Excellence in Research Award, along with 13 other UK Higher Education Institutions, following an external review of our policies and efforts to support the development of our research staff.
Professor Bill Spence, the Vice-Principal for Research, welcomed the news, saying “I’m delighted to see this continued recognition of the collective work of our researchers, academics, and development and HR professionals, ensuring that QMUL remains a great place to build research careers. HR Excellence is not only a badge of honour as far as the European Research Area is concerned, but identifies Queen Mary as a global institution that takes a strong, holistic approach to researcher development.”
In 2015, a working group comprised of research staff from all faculties, academic and professional services staff developed QMUL’s 2016 Action Plan, which had eight primary action points which will be the focus of our efforts over the next two years and beyond. These are discussed in greater detail here.
Amongst these actions will be the establishment of Queen Mary Postdoc Association (QPdA). This group will be a network of postdoctoral researchers from all Schools and Institutes across the College intended to give our 500+ research staff community a voice in the decision making process at QMUL. The QPdA will be putting out a call for representation later on this summer with a goal to meet for the first time early in the 2016/17 academic year.
The HR Excellence in Research Award is a European Commission award that recognises an institution’s alignment in policy and practice to the principles of the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for Recruitment. In the UK, the process incorporates both the QAA Quality Code for Higher Education – Chapter B11: Research Degrees and the Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers, and it includes an initial gap analysis and robust action plan that is internally reviewed at the 2-year mark, and then progress and future plans are externally reviewed at the 4-year mark by an international panel organised by Vitae.
Though recent events in the UK raise questions as to how the British research community will continue to interact with the European Research Area on a policy and funding level, Vitae assures that currently, “the UK is still a member of the European Union and Vitae will continue to manage the UK process for the HR Excellence in Research Award as normal. When the overall situation becomes clearer in terms of whether or how the UK will interact with the European Research Area, the Concordat Strategy Group will work with the European Commission to agree the UK’s future participation in the HR Excellence in Research Award.”
More information about the Concordat and the HR Excellence in Research Award is available via the CAPD’s Researcher Development webpages.